So, uh, my friend is gone.
I don’t know where he’s gone. He’s just not here. I looked everywhere, I can’t find him. The cell where she kept him when he was angry. The paths that he roamed when he was free. The little hidey holes where he would go and cry. His other friends didn’t know either. He was just gone. Vanished.
What I did find though was an eternal river flowing through a strange, pink land. The true world of Kinigi. I managed to create enough lift with my primitive, randomly-painful wings, enough to fly over the high walls that enclosed me. Well, not quite. I nearly did. Then I fell and crashed into the ground and elected to climb the walls the old fashioned way. That worked.
Death though was waiting for me. At the top. Smiling like some sort of lunatic. I expected her to be angry with me. I mean, why wouldn’t she? She created this weird prison for me. A place where I just happened to exist. I watched others come and go. I watched as they grew in power then faded away. Maybe they climbed the same walls I did. I don’t know. Often they would just disappear, the same way my friend did. We would see echoes of them, just flickering by. But they never really came back.
Why would they? This place was like a second home. A place no one was really sure they truly loved. Arguments were always commonplace. Not a single day went by where some of us would fight. Comparing our strengths, pointing out each others’ weaknesses and tearing at each others’ souls. There was a lot of anger.
It would boil down eventually. Replaced with other feelings. A repeating cycle of, well, dissatisfaction. There was always something we would complain about. Things being too hard or easy or hot or cold or any of a long list of problems and hatred. Occasionally, it would bring us all together. Often it would just split us into factions, only for us to reunite and splinter again about some other problem. An endless cycle, almost.
But we loved it nonetheless. Sometimes, we would all come together as a group, simply to laugh and enjoy ourselves. Taking a joke or a mistake and turning it into pure, unbridled joy. Those times when we all came together, that was what made us whole. These moments of joy made everything worthwhile. The anger, the arguments, it was all nothing compared to the laughter and happiness we all felt.
Really, we were not that separated from one another after all. We just had good days and bad days. Most of those days were good. A few of them were dreadful. Some of those days were amazing. All of them are memories worth keeping.
Behind me, I see others climbing the walls, pulling themselves up. They, like me, had no choice but to climb. We saw it all coming. We had to move. Maybe my friend was the lucky one, maybe he realised what was going on. Maybe he escaped before everyone else saw the signs.
I don’t know.
Death is watching us climb up the walls. She stands there and smiles.
“Go on, little one. You’ll be fine.”
Things will be different, things will be sad for a while, things will change. But she’s right. We will all be fine.